There’s nothing quite like the sight of all your prized blooms flowering in your garden. It’s like a party in your backyard.
The colors are beautiful, the fragrance divine, the bees dance joyously in appreciation.
That, along with reaping a bountiful harvest from your vegetable patch, are two of the most rewarding moments of a gardener’s calendar.
And yet, uninvited party poopers often try to crash the festivities.
Invasive, unsightly, and noxious weeds can crowd out your desirable blooms and attempt to take over the flower bed for their own.
That’s why I’ve put together this review of the best weed killers for flower beds – in an attempt to control and stop unwanted vegetation from taking a stranglehold on the hydrangeas.
A buyer’s guide will follow to help you choose which product is right for you.
Let’s make it abundantly clear – no weeds allowed. Even if they turn up in a dress shirt.
- 10 Best Weed Killers for Flower Beds 2020
- Roundup Precision Gel Weed and Grass Killer
- Avenger Organic Weed Killer Herbicide Spray
- Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Weed Preventer
- Preen Extended Control Weed Preventer
- Ortho GroundClear Weed & Grass Killer
- Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer III
- Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer
- Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer
- Roundup Landscape Weed Preventer
- Spectracide Concentrate Weed and Grass Killer
- How to Choose the Best Weed Killer for Flower Beds
- How to Kill Weeds Around Desirable Plants
10 Best Weed Killers for Flower Beds 2020
Roundup Precision Gel Weed and Grass Killer
To start us off here’s something a little different from weed killers extraordinaire – Roundup.
Not as harsh as their usual chemical concoctions, (because you don’t want a high concentration of glyphosate anywhere near your desirables), this is a precision gel that is used to spot treat individual weeds, so you can get right in amongst your flower beds without worrying about collateral damage.
Use it like a gel-stick deodorant, only apply it to leaves rather than your armpit. It will only kill what it touches, and the gel gets into hard to reach areas, ensuring the plant will be killed to the root – and stay dead. Color me impressed.
- Innovative way to kill weeds.
- Rainproof in 30 minutes.
- Ideal for use all around the garden.
- Lower glyphosate concentration.
- Not suitable for covering large areas.
- Takes time to apply – and to work.
Avenger Organic Weed Killer Herbicide Spray
Next up in our search for the best weed treatment for flower beds is this organic, ready-to-use herbicide spray. The Avenger weed killer is an effective post-emergent formula that is safe to use around people and pets.
It’s still non-selective, so you have to be careful where you use it, but the trigger bottle allows accurate and direct coverage on the specific weeds you need to remove.
EPA registered and approved for organic gardening, you can use it just about anywhere around your home and garden, and it’s safe for application close to edibles. Head over to this article for more pet safe weed killer options.
- 100% organic.
- Affordable price.
- Fast acting.
- Reports of mixed results might put some people off.
Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Weed Preventer
Gardening stalwarts Miracle-Gro bring us this Shake ‘N Feed all-purpose plant food that incorporates a weed preventer – so it’s pretty handy all round. It comes in granular form, so you simply shake it around your flower beds with the easy-to-use applicator.
1/2 cup can cover up to 10 square feet, so it’s perfectly suitable for most residential properties. A single application will feed flowers and prevent weed growth for up to three months.
I might be cheating a little here as it’s not strictly a weed killer – but prevention is much better than cure.
Use early in the season before any weeds have had a chance to take hold.
- Name to trust.
- Safe to use all around the garden.
- No harsh chemicals.
- Very highly rated.
- Not safe for pets – be careful if you have animals around.
- Useless on existing and established weeds.
Preen Extended Control Weed Preventer
Like the Miracle-Gro, this is a weed preventer in granule form, designed for use before unwanted plant life has begun to appear through the soil.
It’s safe to use around more than 600 perennials, groundcovers, shrubs, and trees, all of which are covered on the label.
Stop weeds before they start with the easy applicator, that will cover 805 square feet and keep you weed-free for up to six months.
After application, water the ground to create an invisible barrier that prevents unwanted plants from poking through. Although no use on existing weeds, it can still be applied to where they’re growing to prevent anything new from springing up.
- Name to trust.
- Good coverage.
- Long-lasting protection.
- Highly rated.
- No use on existing weeds.
- Not pet safe.
- Not for use around edibles.
Ortho GroundClear Weed & Grass Killer
Ortho GroundClear is an excellent range of products that are a nice alternative to using glyphosate formulas. As such, they’re less harsh, but will still get the job done. Aside from offering some of the best weed killers for driveways, they also bring this landscape beds option to the table.
It’s super fast-acting with results in 15 minutes, as you spray the special applicator wand directly onto the problem.
OMRI listed for organic gardening, it’s safe to use all over the yard, and the accurate spray method ensures you won’t hit desirable plants (just make sure to use it on a calm day).
One of the best weed killers for rocky flower beds thanks to its application.
- Rainproof in two hours.
- Versatile use around the garden.
- Not quite as potent as stronger weed killers.
Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer III
It wasn’t going to be long before another Roundup offering made an appearance, and here it is, in the form of their ready-to-use weed and grass killer.
Like the Ortho, it’s best used with the applicator wand for really zoning in on your target and reducing the risk of chemical spread. It kills existing weeds right to the root, with an additional protective shield that coats the weed and helps to protect any desirable plants in close proximity.
As such, it’s one of the best weed and grass killers for flower beds there is, a highly rated herbicide that will get the job done all-around your garden – even in vegetable beds.
- Small percentage of glyphosate.
- Fast-acting results in three hours.
- Rainproof in 10 minutes.
- Practical applicator wand.
- Still contains glyphosate.
Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer
Hands down the best organic weed killer for flower beds, the hilariously named Green Gobbler is a particular favorite of mine and makes regular appearances in weed killer reviews.
Made with a very high concentration of vinegar, it kills all types of weed inside 24 hours while being safe to use anywhere around the home and garden (just don’t put it on your salad).
OMRI certified for organic use, the non-toxic formula is four times stronger than table vinegar, requires no dilution, and will rain liquid death on any broadleaf weed you care to attack. And it’s one of the highest-rated weed killers to boot.
- Highly effective formula.
- Smells appalling.
- It’s still highly acidic, so take care you don’t get it on your skin.
Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed & Grass Killer
Here we have another organic weed killer, this time from Doctor Kirchner, a natural concoction made from ocean saltwater, commercial strength vinegar, and soap.
This non-selective product is ready to spray and spot treat weeds around your house and garden, safe to use everywhere except for the lawn.
Pet and human friendly, treated weeds will turn brown and die within 24 hours, so you can be sure that your flower beds will only contain the plants you desire.
- Long shelf life.
- Easy to use.
- Highly rated.
- Family owned business.
- It’s possible to make it yourself.
Roundup Landscape Weed Preventer
This is Roundup’s version of a weed preventer – which is interesting to note because they don’t just manufacture post-emergent death dealers for anything that’s green in your garden.
Much less harsh than the usual glyphosate chemical warfare, this creates a protective barrier in the soil, so that nothing can grow through it for up to six months, and yet it won’t harm desirable plants.
A win-win situation when using it around your flower beds, but it means you need to get in early and stop the weeds from germinating in the spring. Still, it’s another useful string to your weed control bow.
- Highly rated.
- Easy to apply.
- Excellent coverage.
- No use on existing weeds.
Spectracide Concentrate Weed and Grass Killer
Spectracide is another household name when it comes to weed murder, and this is their concentrated weed killer which is ideal for covering larger areas. While being extremely potent, it is designed for use all around the garden – including flower beds.
You’ll see visible results in as little as three hours, as it penetrates right to the root, killing weeds stone dead. If you do happen to spray a desirable plant, it is suggested you hose it down immediately.
Spectracide works well at higher temperatures, but it’s probably one of the best weed and grass killers for flower beds there is.
- Highly rated formula.
- Versatile use around your property.
- Rainproof in 15 minutes.
- Excellent coverage.
- Fast acting.
- Not for use around edibles.
How to Choose the Best Weed Killer for Flower Beds
Welcome to the buyer’s guide section, where we will explore some tips, tricks, and advice to help you choose the right weed killer for your needs.
This is what you should be looking out for and considering.
The Most Common Weeds Found in Flower Beds
Below you’ll find a list of some of the weeds that are most commonly found in flower beds. It pays to know thy enemy, as identifying weeds is the first step to beating them.
- Bermuda grass (Check out this review of the best weed killers for Bermuda grass if it’s giving you a hard time.)
- Sedge weeds.
These weeds will likely grow elsewhere in your garden and are often prevalent in lawns, too. Have a look at this article on how to get rid of weeds in a lawn without using harsh chemicals.
And nettles might need something altogether more potent, so have a look at how to get rid of nettles for more advice for eradicating that nuisance.
Finally, watch the video below for more sage advice on identifying weeds.
Herbicides are designed to attack and kill plant life – but there are some important distinctions to note. They can either be selective, or non-selective weed killers.
Selective weed killers are ideal for use on lawns, or anywhere you want desirable plants to grow. They only attack the specific vegetation they’ve been designed to kill.
Before using a selective weed killer, however, you need to make sure that it will target the particular plant you want to remove.
Non-selective weed killers will obliterate anything they come into contact with – friend or foe. While they’re excellent at blanket spraying large areas, extreme care must be taken when using them around desirable plants.
In using either type around your flower beds, I strongly recommended you always err on the side of caution and take steps to protect your blooms. See below for more advice on weed killing in your flower beds.
Pre/Post Emergent Herbicide
As well as choosing the selectivity of a herbicide for flower beds, you should also think about when and how you want the weed killer to work
Pre-emergent products like the Preen and Miracle-Gro options are designed to be used before the weeds germinate and break through the soil. You need to apply them early in the season as a preventative measure.
They work by creating an invisible barrier in the soil to stop any unwanted plants from breaking through. In many cases, they’re also accompanied by plant food, so they can be doubly beneficial in your flower beds.
Post-emergent herbicides like the Roundup should be used when you can actually see the weeds protruding from the soil. Nearly always in liquid form, you spray each individual weed and let the magic happen.
Care must be taken when applying post-emergent herbicides – as they will likely kill almost anything green they come into contact with.
When deciding which one to use for your flower beds, I would suggest both. Add a weed preventer in early spring, and then keep a good post-emergent herbicide on hand in case anything does manage to break through later in the season.
A contact herbicide will only attack the portion of the weed it comes into contact with. While fast-acting, the root often survives and is likely to grow back in the future.
Systemic herbicides (or translocated herbicides) are absorbed by the leaves of the plant and taken down to the root via the phloem and xylem tissue. This might take some time, but it will kill the vegetation completely.
Remember, you also need to pay attention to the current conditions and temperature to get the most out of your weed killer, no matter which type you choose.
And sometimes, the assistance of a surfactant might be advised – which breaks the surface tension of liquid and plant, allowing improved coverage and significantly noticeable results.
Persistence refers to how long a weed killer/preventer will remain active in the soil.
The weed preventers are intended to block weeds from taking hold in the earth and therefore are usually designed to last as long as possible throughout the season/year.
Weed killers are slightly different, and the persistence can vary – depending on the product. Some will keep weeds at bay for up to a year, whereas others will allow plant life to grow a few weeks after application.
Weed killers with low persistence are designed for use where you want to plant desirable flowers or crops in the future.
When in doubt, check the manufacturer’s instructions on the label. This should let you know how long a weed control product will last in your soil.
And always keep an eye on the clouds. It’s better to hold off application if it’s going to rain, as water run-off can carry herbicides into unwanted areas – which can have disastrous results.
Check to see how soon a weed killer is rainproof to prevent this.
I always say it’s important to understand the active ingredients in a weed killer – so you know what you’re letting yourself in for – and what you’re going to be spraying in your garden.
All too often people briefly scan the label, and so long as it says “weed killer” then that will do.
Still, with some products much harsher than others, it’s important you understand what’s in what.
Glyphosate is a hot topic, for example, no doubt a highly potent weed killer, but also a toxic chemical that has potentially nasty side effects for humans and animals.
In this review, however, I’ve deliberately chosen herbicides that are not as powerful as these commercial weed killers, while still being effective for use around your flower beds and desirable plants.
How to Kill Weeds Around Desirable Plants
You’ll notice that weed killers come in a variety of receptacles and means with which to distribute them.
Trigger guns, tank sprayers, gels, backpack sprayers, granules, and weed wands are some ways you can use a herbicide around your property – depending on where you’re using it and what you want to achieve.
For treating weeds around desirable plants – like in your flower beds – you should take steps to ensure you’re not risking any damage to what you actually want to keep.
Start by treating the area with a weed preventer in the early spring. This will create a barrier that weeds will not be able to break through.
Additionally, throw on some extra mulch to flower beds to make it extremely difficult for weeds to poke their ugly heads above ground.
If they do manage to make an appearance, or if you already have an existing weed problem, then you have two courses of action.
Perhaps the best way to get rid of weeds in your flower beds is to do it by hand. But while no harsh chemicals are used and it’s 100% safe for the environment, it can be tiring, backbreaking work.
And certain weeds are so stubborn that even removing the root doesn’t guarantee it won’t return in a few days or weeks.
With that in mind, using a post-emergent weed killer is ideal. Make sure you’re applying the solution in optimum conditions, between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum efficiency.
Never apply weed killers on a windy day – you don’t want to risk the spray being carried anywhere but your target.
Even if the weather is calm, consider using cardboard sheets from old boxes to shield your flowers during application – just as a backup measure.
Again, I’ve selected weed killers in this review that are the most accurate when it comes to spot treatment. Using a trigger or wand is less haphazard than a tank sprayer.
Get as close to the weed as possible, and only focus the liquid death on its leaves, which will drastically reduce friendly fire and unwanted casualties.
Nuisance weeds can spring up all over your garden, but they’re particularly tricky to eradicate when they appear around your desirable plants.
I hope this article has helped you zero in on the best weed killer for flower beds for your particular needs.
As I previously mentioned, I would choose a weed preventer like the Miracle-Gro, followed by an organic solution such as the Green Gobbler. That’s because I try to avoid glyphosate or other harsh chemicals whenever possible.
But, to each their own. Let me know which product you would choose and why.
Happy weed killing!